Temporary Exhibition - 12 March 2019 to 5 January 2020
Between the early 1960s and the late 1980s, a wealth of musical styles linked with successive waves of immigration transformed Paris and London into multicultural capitals. Paris-London. Music Migrations is an immersive, chronological exploration of three pivotal decades in the musical history of our two cities, showcasing the unprecedented melting pot of musical rhythms and the social and political evolutions, urban transformations and migratory flows which defined the era.
Paris-London, Music Migrations explores the close and complex relationship between migration, music, anti-racism and political activism. The exhibition demonstrates how successive generations of immigrants to these two former colonial powers used music to stake their claim to equal rights, affirm their presence in the public space, and contribute to the urban, economic and cultural transformations reshaping France and the UK.
An immersive musical and visual experience, Paris-London. Music Migrations presents over 600 documents and artworks connected with music – instruments, costumes, photos, concert posters, videos, album covers, fanzines and more - on loan from institutions including the Victoria and Albert Museum, alongside many treasures taken from the personal collections of prominent musicians (including Manu Dibango), a stage outfit worn by Fela Kuti, the “father of Afrobeat” and various creations by Jean Paul Gaultier.
The exhibition features incredible images from photographers such as James Barnor, Charlie Phillips, Pierre Terrasson, Philippe Chancel and Syd Shelton, and each section of the show is dotted with works and installations by contemporary artists including Saâdane Afif, Paul Villinski, Isaac Julien and Rose Eken, not to mention new commissions from Hervé Di Rosa and Martin Meissonnier.
The exhibition is accompanied by a killer playlist featuring the reggae punk of Poly Styrene, the makossa of Manu Dibango, the vintage raï of Cheikha Rimitti, the ska of Desmond Dekker, the R&B of Soul II Soul, the Mandinka music of Salif Keïta, the blue beat of Millie Small, the Algerian crossover of Noura, the punk without borders of Rachid Taha, the Asian underground sounds of Asian Dub Foundation, the rumba rock of Papa Wemba, the roots reggae of Aswad, the chaâbi of Dahmane El Harrachi, the dub poetry of Linton Kwesi Johnson, the zouk of Kassav’, the electro-rap of Neneh Cherry, the afro-reggae of Alpha Blondy, the legendary reggae of Bob Marley, the modern raï of Khaled, the hybrid rock of the Négresses Vertes, the rhythm’n’blues of Vigon, the juju music of King Sunny Ade...
At a time when many European nations are turning inwards and succumbing to the temptations of closed borders, the timing of this exhibition could not be more relevant, arriving as it does just a few weeks before Brexit, scheduled to come into effect on 29 March 2019.
The entrance to the museum is free for visitors under 26 and the first Sunday of every month.